State Brutality in Khimti-Dhalkebar 220 kV Transmission Line Project

  • News Date: July 27, 2016 | Post By LAHURNIP

Khimi-Dhalkebar 220 kV electricity Transmission Line project is constantly questioned by the affected communities. It is found of violation of right to information, Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the communities. For securing their rights the affected communities have been struggling for years. The project is funded by World Bank (WB) and Executed by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) since 2007.

The Project is a double circuit transmission line that runs from Khimti Power Station to Dhalkebar with 75 kilometres across five districts in central Nepal: Dolakha, Ramechhap, Sindhuli, Mahottari, and Dhanusha. 60 meter high towers have been constructed at intervals of 700 meters. Two hundred and eighteen towers have already been built, and twelve are remain in Sindhuli areas where affected communities have been struggling for appropriate remedies.

The project was initiated without information and consultation to the affected communities. The transmission live route goes through over school, homes, and historical and heritage sites. Considering the potential adverse impact by this project, the affected indigenous and local communities are constantly protesting the project activities by putting forth their demands.

The project stopped its operation due to the protest of affected community for past 5 years. In November 2012, approximately 250 armed police forces entered in to the affected areas beating several protesters. In April 2013, police officers including project officers entered in to the disputed areas to resume the project activities, but they have not been able to resume the project activities due to the protest of the communities. On 10 July 2013, 103 indigenous and non-indigenous families in three villages of Sindhuli District lauded complaint to inspection panel of the World Bank (WB). Responding the complaint, the inspection panel studied the circumstances and found numbers of WB policies violation related to consultation and participation. The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has discussed on the report of Inspection Panel in 13 July 2015 and committed to addressing the shortcomings indentified through the management action plan endorsed by their Board of Executive Directors.

The affected communities lodged complaints to the national human rights commission for monitoring situation of violation of human rights. Surprising the NHRC come up with the "decision" recommending the government to resume the work on….On 11 April 2016 the affected community organised protests in one of the project site. To disburse the protesters the district administration deployed police resulting 9 injured and 6 were arrested. The injured did not receive any medical treatment and the arrested were released after 30 hours. The project works were resumed under the surveillance of Armed Police Force establishing temporary camp in the project site.  

On 2 July 2016 the affected communities demonstrated peacefully in Bardeutar of Sindhuli. In that incident 14 were arrested (including three 15 year old child and a75 years of old women). The child and elderly women were released same and 10 were detained for 2 days. At the meantime, the Chair and vice-chair of the struggle committee were charged of public offense case. Vice-chair was arrested on 8 July 2016 and released after 2 days.  

Initially, the project was not in favour providing any compensation to the affected communities. But, due to the agitation of the affected communities the NEA agreed to provide compensation in the name of feeder road, not actually for the transmission line. In addition, Shindhuli district was declared as load shedding free district, Village Community Development Program (VCDP) was brought (but affected are not actually benefitting for the program) for the benefit of affected communities. These are some achievements of the community movement. However, the affected communities are continuing their protest demanding rerouting of the transmission line, justifiable compassion, measures of environment protection and benefit sharing.